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Another to Conquer

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Another to Conquer


Publication date 1941
Publisher National Tuberculosis Association / U.S. Office of Indian Affairs
Digitizing sponsor National Tuberculosis Association / U.S. Office of Indian Affairs
Film courtesy of The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)

DIRECTOR: Edgar. G Ulmer. SPONSOR: National Tuberculosis Association / U.S. Office of Indian Affairs. PRODUCTION: Springer Pictures, Inc. CAMERA: Robert Cline. EDITOR: H.E. Mandl. CAST: Howard Gorman, Sammy Day, Geraldine Birdsbill, Richard Hogner, W.W. Peter, M.D. NARA ARC Identifier: 98574

Boasting the assistance of the Navajo Service and the Untied States Office of Indian Affairs, Another to Conquer was targeted at Native Americans and features stunning location shooting. Nema and Don, made orphans by tuberculosis, are left on the reservation following the wisdom of their science-fearing grandfather and the community’s respected leader, Slow-Talker. Robert, their neighbor and friend, has gone away to school—forsaking tradition, according to his detractors—and has learned the scientific ways of the white man. He has also learned that he has TB and, through rest and treatment, is cured. The film progresses as a battle between traditional faith and contemporary medicine. Medicine wins and Slow-Talker, a convert to its ways, becomes its spokesperson. Directed by Edgar Ulmer.

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Reviews

Reviewer: Christine Hennig II - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 4, 2017
Subject: White Man's Medicine Is the Answer
This 1941 film was made to encourage Native Americans to get proper treatment for tuberculosis, which had become epidemic in Native populations. Young adult Navajo siblings Don and Nema had both parents die from the disease, and their grandfather, Slow Talker, tells them their parents died because they had abandoned traditional ways. Neva wants she and Don to get examined to see if they have the disease, but Slow Talker is mistrustful of the white man and discourages it. Their friend Robert decides to go to the Indian school, to Slow Talker’s dismay, and there he is given a physical exam and is found to have the early stages of TB. He is sent to a sanitarium for treatment (antibiotics hadn’t been invented yet) and slowly recovers. Slow Talker, upon hearing of Robert’s illness, calls him “lazy” for staying in the hospital. But then Don collapses while working hard during the annual sheep dip, and it turns out that he has an advanced case of TB. This changes Slow Talker’s tune, and he agrees to take himself and Nema to be examined. Nema turns out to be disease-free, but Slow Talker turns out to be a carrier who may have been the one to infect his family. He makes the difficult decision to stay in the sanitarium so he won’t continue to infect his family. This film is admirable in its aims, yet it has a patronizing attitude to the Natives that it is trying to persuade. The answer is “white man’s medicine” which couldn’t have been very persuasive to Native audiences. The film has lots of historical interest in showing both attitudes toward disease and Native American life in the 40s.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: N/A. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavorite - February 14, 2015
Subject: To the labratory!
Just ok exploration about indians and Tuberclerosis. The indians were at first reluctant to be treated for the disease mainly because it was a "White Man's Disease" and they didn't want to deal with "White Man Solutions", but this film says it's all right! What choice do you have? The acting is pretty bad in this one, not just by the indians, but the white folk are horrid too.
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